Friday, March 11, 2005
"To engage in a serious discussion of race in America, we must begin not with the problems of black people but with the flaws of American society - flaws rooted in the historic inequalities and longstanding cultural stereotypes. How we set up the terms for discussing racial issues shapes our perception and response to these issues. As long as black people are viewed as a "them," the burden falls on blacks to do all the "cultural" and "moral" work necessary for healthy race relations. The implication is that only certain Americans can define what it means to be American - and the rest must simply "fit in"...
...and a pervasive spiritual impoverishment grows. The collapse of meaning in life - the eclipse of hope and absence of love of self and others, the breakdown of family and neighborhood bonds - leads to the social deracination and cultural denudement of urban dwellers, especially children. We have created rootless, dangling people with little link to the supportive networks - family, friends, school - that sustain some sense of purpose in life. We have witnessed the collapse of the spiritual communities that in the past helped Americans face despair, disease, and death and that transmit through the generations dignity and decency, excellence and elegance.
...the result is lives of what we might call "random nows," of fortuitous and fleeting moments preoccupied with "getting voer" - with acquiring pleasure, property, and power by any means necessary. (This is not what Malcolm X meant by this famous phrase.) Post-modern culture is more and more a market culture dominated by gangster mentalities and self-destructive wantonness. The culture engulfs all of us - yet is impact on the disadvantaged is devastating, resulting in extreme violence in everyday life. Sexual violence against women and homicidal assaults by young black men on one another are only the most obvious signs of this empty, quest for pleasure, property, and power."
-Cornel West, Race Matters
I just started reading Race Matters by Cornel West (Princeton professor of Religion) and I'm really impressed by the book. If I were to re-live my university career and I magically could pick any professor to take classes from, I'd definitely put Professor West up there with Noam Chomsky and Robert Putnam.
Speaking of Chomsky and Putnam, I read on Jeff Lam's xanga that Chomsky will be in Seattle on April 20th to speak for free at the UW's Meany Hall. Tickets are free, but given his popularity and Seattle's liberal slant, I'm guessing it's gonna be tough to get in. The title of talk will be "Illegal but Legitimate: A Dubious Doctrine for the Times".
Next post: the time picture collage.
Comments: Post a Comment